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Electronic stimulators for surface neural prosthesis

DOI: 10.2298/jac0802025b

Keywords: Functional Electrical Stimulation , medical devices , neuroprostheses , rehabilitation engineering

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Abstract:

This paper presents the technological advancements in neural prosthesis devices using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). FES refers to the restoration of motor functions lost due to spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, head injury, or diseases such as Cerebral Palsy or Multiple Sclerosis by eliciting muscular contractions through the use of a neuromuscular electrical stimulator device. The field has developed considerably since its inception, with the miniaturisation of circuity, the development of programmable and adaptable stimulators and the enhancement of sensors used to trigger the application of stimulation to suit a variety of FES applications. This paper discusses general FES system design requirements in the context of existing commercial and research FES devices, focusing on surface stimulators for the upper and lower limbs. These devices have demonstrated feasible standing and stepping in a clinical setting with paraplegic patients, improvements in dropped foot syndrome with hemiplegic patients and aided in the restoration of grasping function in patients with upper limb motor dysfunction.

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